In the early 90's, it was realized that the dam was a threat to the ecological health of the entire river by a few people and the battle to get it removed began. It has taken nearly 20 years of debates, studies, and resources to finally remove the dam as we know it. There are still quite a few people who are against removing it, but the majority sees the benefits to its demise - I am with the majority.
The plan is not to remove the dam in its entirety, but to cut a 150' notch in the center of it. In addition, they will be completely removing other smaller dams throughout the system; most already removed.
I decided to take a detour on my way to work this morning to check the status and snapped a few photos - hope you enjoy
|This is at Fairbanks Dam which is about a quarter mile downstream of the Hoffman Dam. This dam was completely removed in early Decemeber 2011 in preparation for the big dam's removal.|
|Fairbanks Dam on November 28th - just days before its removal|
|Hoffman Dam June 9, 2012 - note the yellow markers above the dam placed in preparation for the removal of the dam|
|This is the staging area on the Lyons side of the river - Construction equipment will enter the river here and drive upstream about 300' to the dam via gravel road that has been recently poured|
|Other side of the fence where they will enter the river with the demolition equipment|
|That ridge of rocks marks the recently poured road|
|The "island" in the middle is the end of the gravel road. The equipment will operate at this point|
|Another view of the "island" and one of the last times the Hoffman Dam will ever look this way|
|Old truck wheel and metal drum - a reminder of how dirty this river once was and how much room for improvement still exists|
|Picture of the staging area taken from the Riverside bank|
|A closer look at those yellow things. I assume they are marking the future channel of the river. Everything to the left will be water and to the right will be grass land or perhaps a park.|
That's all for now - I will post pictures of the dam once it is removed. If you are interested in reading a bit about the history of the dam from beginning to now, check out the Fredrick Law Olmsted Society's website.
Update* For people who are skeptical of the negative impacts that this particular dam makes on fishing and the overall health of the entire river as a whole, check out this study done by the IDNR. It shows the number of species both above and below the dam...the numbers are very different!
Update 2 - 06/27/2012 progress with pictures